Asylum Statistics 2016: Sharper inequalities and persisting asylum lottery

Asylum statistics for 2016 in key European countries are in the process of being published by national authorities. This article provides an overview of asylum trends, up-to-date as of 24 January 2017.

Available statistics reveal sharper discrepancies in the distribution of refugees across Europe, as well as persisting disparities in the recognition of international protection.

 

Germany leads reception of asylum seekers

Germany, by far the main destination country last year, registered as many as 745,545 asylum applications. Only 280,000 of those concerned new arrivals, however, while the remainder were formal registrations of protection claims expressed in 2015. Despite a large influx of arrivals, only 476,649 people registered asylum applications in 2015. Until they are formally registered as applicants for international protection, people seeking asylum receive a certificate of “reporting as an asylum seeker” (BÜMA).

An increase in asylum applications compared to 2015 was also reported in Italy and France, where statistics refer to a total 123,482 and 85,244 claims respectively in 2016. Greece also saw a nearly fourfold increase in the number of asylum applications registered.

Most other countries remain far behind Germany and reported a decrease in the number of asylum applications registered last year:

 

The main nationalities of asylum seekers in 2016 remain Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. However, France saw mainly applications from nationals of Sudan, Afghanistan and Haiti, while Albania and Eritrea figured in the top three nationalities in the Netherlands.

 

Protection disparities persist

Still in 2016, recognition rates vary significantly from one EU Member State to another. Sweden reported an overall protection rate of 77.4%, whereas neighbouring Finland had a rate of 35.2% and Hungary had a striking rate of 8.5%. Recognition rates have also varied significantly for the same nationalities last year:

Recognition rates for Iraq: 2016

Country

Decisions taken

Recognition rate

Germany

68,562

70.2%

Austria

3,147

66.8%

Greece

-

66.5%

Switzerland

598

59.4%

Belgium

6,072

54.4%

Sweden

10,135

45%

Finland

16,308

24.1%

Norway

2,290

18.4%

Hungary

556

12.9%

The EU has committed to ensuring more convergence in asylum decisions across its Member States, namely by reforming the criteria for granting protection under the proposed Qualification Regulation. The proposal aims to oblige Member States to apply the internal flight alternative so as to refuse protection to those who are considered able to find safety in other parts of their home country. Already in 2016, the application of this concept has led to lower recognition rates for nationalities such as Iraq and Afghanistan:

 

Recognition rates for Afghanistan: 2015-2016

Country

Recognition rate 2015

Recognition rate 2016

Switzerland

92.1%

89.4%

Germany

72.2%

55.8%

Austria

78.4%

56%

Belgium

77.3%

59%

Greece

60.5%

48.8%

Sweden

54.5%

45%

Finland

71.6%

42.4%

Norway

82.2%

30%

 

For more information, see:

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detention and content of international protection across 20 countries.